As people age, their bodies, minds, and behavior can change in several ways. In most cases, seniors will develop at least one type of chronic ailment.
These illnesses last longer than three months and tend to get worse over time. They can have devastating effects and early treatment is critical.
Below we are going to take a look at some of the common types so that you and your loved one can take the right steps as early as possible.
Arthritis is a condition that affects the joints and surrounding tissues. Symptoms include joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and decreased range of motion. These symptoms can range from mild to severe and can occur suddenly or develop gradually over time.
Treatments vary depending on the type but commonly include medications, physical therapy, lifestyle modifications, and surgery. It may also be wise to seek the personalized care of a functional medicine doctor.
Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are two of the most devastating conditions to afflict individuals and their families – sadly it is common for seniors. The symptoms vary from memory loss, confusion, and difficulty solving simple problems, to changes in behavior such as increased agitation or aggression.
While there is no cure for this condition, there are a variety of treatments available to improve quality of life. Increased awareness can help us understand how we can best support those living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia today.
High cholesterol occurs when the level of cholesterol in the bloodstream becomes elevated beyond normal. Generally, this is due to an unhealthy lifestyle that includes being overweight, consuming a diet high in fats, and smoking. However, it can also be caused by other medical conditions.
A build-up of cholesterol in the arteries can lead to serious health issues such as heart disease and stroke. Therefore, it’s important to take steps to reduce your risk factors and make sure your levels are kept in check.
Depression in seniors is an increasingly concerning problem that is often overlooked. Many elderly individuals are facing an increased feeling of loneliness and isolation, especially since the recent pandemic.
Other chronic issues and physical disabilities are also common causes. Seniors are vulnerable and signs of the illness often go unnoticed by friends and family members.
Other mental health conditions that should also be taken into account include:
- Substance Abuse
Heart disease is a serious and life-threatening issue for anybody. However, it’s particularly common for men and women over the age of 65.
Thankfully, there are preventative strategies to reduce the chances of developing heart issues. As mentioned in other areas of this list, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is critical. It’s also important to seek immediate help from a doctor if you or a loved one feels like they are having any symptoms.
Diabetes is another chronic ailment that occurs when the body does not produce enough of the hormone insulin or is unable to use insulin properly. Symptoms include:
- Urinating frequently.
- Feeling thirsty.
- Losing weight unexpectedly.
- Feeling tired and lethargic.
- Mood changes.
People with diabetes must carefully manage their lifestyle habits, diet, and medication to achieve optimal control of their condition. With proper management, it is possible to reduce the risk of long-term complications such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney problems.
Osteoporosis is a serious ailment that weakens the bones of the body, increasing the risk of fractures and breaks. The body cannot replace bone at a fast enough rate to counteract the effects of the disease which leads to pain, discomfort, and disability.
Weight-bearing activities are best for strengthening bones, such as walking, stair climbing, or lifting light weights. Eating calcium-rich foods is also recommended to help improve bone health.
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a common condition in which the force of the blood pushing against artery walls is consistently too high. It affects over 25% of all adults in the United States and is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
Symptoms are often not noticeable but can include headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, chest pain, and nose bleeds. Following a lifestyle with regular exercise, healthy eating, and maintaining a good weight can assist with management. If necessary, medications may also be prescribed by a doctor.
As you can see, seniors need to know what chronic conditions are most common so they can monitor their own health closely. By observing signs or symptoms, early treatment can be sought out if necessary.